While Matisse was living in 1905 in Collioure, France, on the Riviera, he invited Derain to join him and his family to partake of the beautiful scenery, which Matisse called “la bonheur de peinters”—the joy of painters. Derain soon found himself absorbing the wonderful light and color around him and produced such works as Mountains at Collioure (above). Mountains at Collioure shows some of Van Gogh’s influence in the expressive brushstrokes, but the use of color is in accord with Matisse’s purely decorative, purely entertaining goals, free of Van Gogh’s expressionist, angst-driven use of color.
His service in World War I robbed Derain of several years of his career. After gaining success in the 1920s, partly on the coattails of Matisse’s success, Derain unfortunately allowed himself to accept an offer to visit Germany as a cultural ambassador during the Nazi occupation of Paris during World War II. Despite the Nazi rejection of Fauvism as a “degenerate art” movement, Derain’s visit became a public relations coup for the Nazis. Supporters accused Derain of collaboration after the war’s end, which may still affect his reputation today.